Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Only Poetic Justice I Can Find Is That GGB Is Losing His Hair.

Uuuuugh, Mammoth.

This one's going to be spoilery, just so you're all well aware.

What I choose to rent from the video store, 99% of the time is based on whether or not I like the actors on the cover of the DVD box. I like Gael Garcia Bernal. In his heyday, I found him pretty attractive and thought the movies he chose, or landed roles in or whatever, were pretty good. Mammoth is just an example of why I should really stop watching films with him in them. Ever since GGB (can we call him GGB?) stopped making films with Latin American directors, his likability has declined. I mean seriously declined. Nosedived. Babel? Ugh.

I mean really, if I have to see GGB play one more 30-something who is still stuck in a prolonged adolescence, I will just scream and lob something at the television I've owned since 19somethingsomething. The only thing that saved this movie for me (I use the term 'saved' loosely) was Michelle Williams' character and I think that's because she reminded me of my girlfriend. My girlfriend, who sleeps during the day and is up all night. My girlfriend, who might not be an expert ER doctor, but she makes bread and keeps the same hours and exhibits the same stress symptoms when under pressure.

So basically this film is about GGB and Michelle Williams and their daughter, who are affluent New Yorkers. GGB created a video game social networking site and therefore is going to Thailand on business to sign an investment contract. He's just the founder and creator of the company, so his role there is really minimal. This leads to boredom. Do you see where this is going?

This photo is an entirely inaccurate depiction of this film.

Back at home, Michelle Williams feels distant from her daughter who spends 90% of her day with her Filipino nanny, Gloria. Gloria is a badass. I feel like if they took out Michelle Williams, GGB and the daughter character and just made this movie about Gloria and her kids back home and the subplot that happens with them, this would have been a way more tolerable movie. But the danger of making films like that is I guess that no paying audience wants to watch that sort of thing, which is really ugly and shameful. If we don't have any white Americans in a movie, blah blah blah.

Also, GGB is losing his hair. See above photo for evidence. It's shameful to shave a man's head and then make him act with little patchy bald spots all over. And it's shameful that the second you hear that a character is going to Thailand, both you and your film-watching partner give each other that side eye, you know, the look that says Oh Lord Let There Not Be A Scene With Some Thai Hookers Because That Is Just Too Expected At This Point.

And then there IS. And then the bored, too-rich-for-his-own-good character tries to SAVE one of them. And then he SLEEPS with her. And PROMISES HER A BETTER LIFE WITH HIM SOMEWHERE. And then LEAVES HER IN HIS HUT ON THE BEACH ALONE WITH A $3000 PEN THAT SHE ONLY GETS $25 FOR WHEN SHE TRIES TO PAWN IT FOR MONEY TO FEED HER CHILD.

I mean sweet shit.

I think what really chapped my ass about this film, outside of GGB's declining sexiness and ability to portray complex characters with more than a wading pool's depth of character development, is the fact that as soon as the affluent male character with too much money and too much time on his hands went back home to his family, no consequences were suffered. Film-watching partner even went so far as to yell YOU BETTER NOT SLEEP WITH YOUR WIFE FOR A FEW MONTHS at the screen. And then everything goes back to normal and the family is reunited and jeez, aren't they glad to all be back in their cozy Soho loft apartment again.

Which, I guess is pretty reminiscent of real life when you think about it. Rich people go exploit the tourism and cultures of other countries all the time and leave some sort of sociological imprint on the place and then whisk back to their happy American life where they don't have to worry about poor people and prostitutes and the economy unless it directly affects them. And yeah, that's shitty. And yeah, we should be making films about this and how shitty it is, and we should be creating accessible art that reflects the dangers of that brand of exploitation. BUT SHOW ME SOME FREAKING REPERCUSSIONS FOR CHRIST'S SAKE. Give me a goddamned ALLEGORY.

Unless the name Almodovar is attached to GGB's next project, I am turning it down. If you happen to see Mammoth for any reason, see it for Gloria's character, and her kids. That's where the heart of that story was, and should have been.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of this movie, but I do recall your extreme love of GGB during his gay-love with Diego Luna movie [can't remember what movie that was.] Frankly, I don't care about this movie in particular, I just love to read your writing. It makes me giggle and laugh, because I picture you SPEAKING it. love ittttttt.